After taking a blessed half – day off from my work at Salem (hats off to the Chief Medical Officer for letting me go during a peak day), Sanju and I left at 3 PM to Annur. Taking the Coimbatore Highway, we paid the fees at both the tolls, and were proceeding to Annur when the calls came from Aravind Eye Care, Coimbatore checking if we would be staying there for the night (I had called and requested them earlier). I agreed and as soon as I disconnected the call, Patric my old pal called up and said that he too would be there in Annur to collect the bib later in the evening. We reached Annur at five, after missing a turn, and taking an adventurous slow ride in the opposite direction, to get back on course.
Once we reached the marathon starting point (Swami Vivekananda Matric High School) in Annur, I was immediately given my bib as soon as I mentioned my number. The staff were friendly and requested me to be at the start point at 5 PM, even though the marathon would start later. I agreed, went back to the car satisfied, started the engine and prepared to leave for Coimbatore, which was 30 km away. The GPS, for some reason, decided to trick us and we missed a turn (again). This time, I was not to be outdone, and took an alternate route via GPS. This took us via a narrow road supposedly leading to a college. This eventually turned into a slum with streets just big enough to accommodate our car. In five minutes, just when I was thinking I should turn back, the main road appeared ahead. We actually did it! Once back on the road, it took us just fifteen minutes to get to the road leading to the airport.
With memories of our recent trip to AIOS, Agra, we decided to once again, stop over at Aanandhas, but this time for tea. We enjoyed our tea, coffee and ‘vadai’ (which is basically flour with a few vegetables which is fried to a golden – brown colour) with sambar (a kind of soup made from lentils). Satisfied with our experience, we then headed over to Aravind Eye Care, Coimbatore, which was just a little way down the street, got our room key, met a few staff who had worked with me in Theni, then again headed out to dinner. This time it was Brookefield’s Mall, which was some distance away and took 40 minutes just to get there. We got a few books at “Odyssey”, from where we were rudely chased out at 9 PM, when the lights went off to signal that it was time to close down.
The food court was much too positive in that they served twice the amount of food that we could manage, and thank heavens, Patric showed up and helped us getting the food off the plates. We then said our goodbyes and came back to our room for a good night’s sleep. Marathon next day!